Happy New Year! I can't believe winter break is already over and classes here at Caltech are in full swing. School started this past Wednesday but I came back to Pasadena early with my family to see the world famous Rose Parade. This festival is definitely something that Pasadena is well known for and I figured it was worth seeing at least once during the four years I am here at Caltech. To my surprise, there were actually quite a few Techers who had also come back to school early in order to watch the parade and/or go to the Rose Bowl game. The Tournament of Roses consists of a parade that is just on East Colorado Blvd (about a 10 minute walk from the student Houses) and the Rose Bowl college game. It usually happens on New Year's Day but since it was a Sunday this year, the festivities were moved to a Monday, January 2. This year, the college football teams that were competing in the Rose Bowl were Wisconsin Badgers and Oregon Ducks.
The morning of the Rose Parade, we walked to the intersection of Hill street and East Colorado Blvd. I was really surprised to see that the street was lined with so many people! In addition, millions of people tune in on their televisions as well. Crowds of hundreds of thousands of spectators mostly from out of town were packed on the sidewalks. Apparently, people had camped out the previous day starting at 2pm and slept on air mattresses or in sleeping bags in order to get the coveted viewing spots on the curbsides!
We all waited in anticipation for the parade to begin. There were at total of 44 floats, 16 marching bands, and 22 equestrian groups that participated this year. In addition, this year there were also hundreds of protesters part of the Occupy Wall street movement present that demonstrated peacefully. Only through being present amongst thousands of spectators did I realize how lucky I was to be so close to such as famous and widely broadcasted event!
The marching bands added an air of excitement as they played peppy tunes and contributed to the high energy and spirits of the spectators. I loved the different colors and uniformity within the bands and also the color guard team performed fun dance routines as well. Not only were there marching bands from the USA, but there were also international bands from Sweden, Japan, and Puerto Rico.
All of the intricate floats were quite impressive as each had a distinctive theme and displayed elaborate creativity. Extensive preparation has gone into each as most had hundred of thousands of fresh flowers that must have taken hours of toiling!
In addition, each team competing later in the day at the Rose Bowl prepared a float.
Moreover, riders on horses trekked down the street as well.
Under the sunny and perennial 75 degree weather, the atmosphere was full of cheer as spectators gathered to welcome in the new year. Football fans all wore their team's gear to show support and were in the stands cheering for their respective teams. What a great kick-off to the year!
Almost a year ago now, I was just about to start my first Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at JPL. NASA had sent out an email to all of their summer interns containing a social media template to announce that we had been selected as NASA interns. Excited to show my NASA pride, I posted it on my Instagram story, unaware of what would come out of this small action.
Hey hey! We’re starting a series where I walk you through my best finds for food and drinks in the Pasadena region, and in the LA metropolitan area. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, if you will (although, for copyright reasons we can’t call it that). As you explore your college options, I firmly believe that food and location are more important than your high school guidance counselor may lead you to believe. And I’m here to share my best finds from my time at Caltech with you.
Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) under the mentorship of senior research technologist Dr. Xiaoqing Pi. Dr. Pi’s guidance and mentorship has been instrumental to the development and success of my internship at JPL, where I use machine-learning to enhance the accuracy and integrity of navigation and communication signals. In addition to helping me develop an understanding of atmospheric and ionospheric remote sensing and machine-learning, Dr. Pi has often offered his insights on how to improve my researching skills. Dr. Pi was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions regarding his research and advice for future student interns. I believe many students can benefit from some of the lessons that he has taught me:
The transition period to remote learning was a very uncertain time, especially for research and the Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program. Many hands-on projects had to pivot at the last minute to facilitate off-campus contributions. However, many Techers were able to take advantage of the research opportunities offered at Caltech and JPL to make the best out of remote learning and research. To paint a picture, I’ve interviewed a few talented Techers for some insight on what researching from home looks like for them.